Johnny Lee Bench (born December 7, 1947) is an American former professional baseball catcher who played in the Major Leagues for the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983 and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bench is a 14-time All-Star selection and a two-time National League Most Valuable Player. He was a key member of the Big Red Machine that won six division titles, four National League pennants, and two consecutive World Series championships. ESPN has called him the greatest catcher in baseball history.
Bench in July 2006
|Born: December 7, 1947|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|August 28, 1967, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 29, 1983, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Runs batted in||1,376|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||96.42% (first ballot)|
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Bench is one-eighth Choctaw; he played baseball and basketball and was class valedictorian at Binger-Oney High School in Binger. His father told him that the fastest route to becoming a major leaguer was as a catcher. As a 17-year-old, Bench was selected 36th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in the second round of the 1965 amateur draft, playing for the minor-league Buffalo Bisons in the 1966 and 1967 seasons before being called up to the Reds in August 1967. He hit only .163, but impressed many people with his defense and strong throwing arm, among them Hall of Famer Ted Williams. Williams signed a baseball for him and predicted that the young catcher would be "a Hall of Famer for sure!" Williams' prophecy became fact 22 years later in 1989 when Bench was elected to Cooperstown.
During a spring training game in 1968, Bench was catching for eight-year veteran right-hander Jim Maloney. Maloney was once a hard thrower, but by this time injuries had dramatically reduced the speed of his fastball. Maloney insisted on repeatedly "shaking off" his younger catcher by throwing fastballs instead of the breaking balls that Bench had called for. An exasperated Bench bluntly told Maloney, "Your fastball's not popping". Maloney replied with an epithet. To prove to Maloney that his fastball wasn't effective anymore, Bench called for a fastball, and after Maloney released the ball, Bench dropped his catcher's mitt and caught the fastball barehanded. Bench was the Reds' catcher on April 30, 1969, when Maloney pitched a no hitter against the Houston Astros.
In 1968, Bench (20) impressed many in his first full season; he won the National League Rookie of the Year Award and batted .275 with 15 home runs and 82 RBIs. This marked the first time that the award had been won by a catcher. He also won the 1968 National League Gold Glove Award for catchers, which was the first time that the award had been won by a rookie. He made 102 assists in 1968, which marked the first time in 23 years that a catcher had more than 100 assists in a season.
During the 1960s, Bench also served in the United States Army Reserve as a member of the 478th Engineer Battalion, which was based across the Ohio River from Cincinnati at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. This unit included several of his teammates, among them Pete Rose. In the winter of 1970–1971 he was part of Bob Hope's USO Tour of Vietnam.
In 1970, Bench had his finest statistical season. At age 22, he became the youngest player to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award. He hit .293, led the National League with 45 home runs and a franchise-record 148 runs batted in as the Reds won the NL West Division. The Reds swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Championship Series, but lost to the Baltimore Orioles in five games in the World Series.
Bench had another strong year in 1972, winning the MVP Award for a second time. He led the National League in home runs (40) and RBI (125) to help propel the Reds to another National League West Division title and won the NL pennant in the deciding fifth game over the Pittsburgh Pirates. One of his most dramatic home runs was likely his ninth-inning, lead off, opposite field home run in that fifth NLCS game. The solo shot tied the game at three; the Reds won later in the inning on a wild pitch, 4–3. It was hailed after the game as "one of the great clutch home runs of all time." However, the Reds lost the World Series to a strong Oakland Athletics team in seven games.
After the 1972 season, Bench had a growth removed from his lung; he remained productive, but never again hit forty home runs in a season. In 1973, Bench hit 25 home runs and 104 RBI and helped the Reds rally from a 10½-game deficit to the Los Angeles Dodgers in early July to lead the majors with 99 wins and claim another NL West Division crown. In the NLCS, Cincinnati met a New York Mets team that won the NL East with an unimpressive 82–79 (.509) record, 16½ games behind the Reds. But the Mets boasted three of the better starting pitchers in the NL, future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Jon Matlack. Bench's bottom of the ninth-inning home run off Seaver in the first game propelled the Reds to victory, but Seaver would get the best of the Reds and Bench in the deciding Game 5, winning 7–2 to put the Mets into the World Series.
In 1974, Bench led the league with 129 RBI and scored 108 runs, becoming only the fourth catcher in major league history with 100 or more runs and RBI in the same season. The Reds won the second-most games in the majors (98) but lost the West Division to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1975, the Reds finally broke through in the post season. Bench contributed 28 home runs and 110 RBI. Cincinnati swept the Pirates in three games to win the NLCS, and defeated the Boston Red Sox in a memorable seven-game World Series.
Bench struggled with ailing shoulders in 1976,  and had one of his least productive years, with only 16 home runs and 74 RBIs. He finished with an excellent postseason, starting with a 4-for-12 (.333) performance in the NLCS sweep over the Philadelphia Phillies. The World Series provided a head-to-head match-up with the Yankees' all-star catcher, Thurman Munson. Bench rose to the occasion, hitting .533 with two home runs, while Munson also hit well, with a .529 average. The Reds won in a four-game sweep and Bench was named the Series' MVP. At the post-World Series press conference, Reds manager Sparky Anderson was asked by a journalist to compare Munson with his catcher. Anderson replied, "I don't want to embarrass any other catcher by comparing him to Johnny Bench."
Bench bounced back in 1977 to hit 31 home runs and 109 RBIs but the Dodgers won two straight NL pennants. The Reds reached the postseason just once more in his career, in 1979, but were swept in three straight in the NLCS by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
For the last three seasons of his career, Bench moved out from behind the plate, catching only 13 games, while primarily becoming a corner infielder (first or third base). The Cincinnati Reds proclaimed Saturday, September 17, 1983, "Johnny Bench Night" at Riverfront Stadium, in which he hit his 389th and final home run, a line drive to left in the third inning before a record crowd. He retired at the end of the season at age 35.
|Johnny Bench's number 5 was retired by the Cincinnati Reds in 1984.|
Bench had 2,048 hits for a .267 career batting average with 389 home runs and 1,376 RBI during his 17-year Major League career, all spent with the Reds. He retired as the career home run leader for catchers, a record which stood until surpassed by Carlton Fisk and the current record holder, Mike Piazza. Bench still holds the Major League record for the most grand slam home runs by a catcher with 10. In his career, Bench earned 10 Gold Gloves, was named to the National League All-Star team 14 times, and won two Most Valuable Player Awards. He led the National League three times in caught stealing percentage and ended his career with a .991 fielding percentage. He caught 118 shutouts during his career, ranking him 12th all-time among major league catchers. Bench also won such awards as the Lou Gehrig Award (1975), the Babe Ruth Award (1976), and the Hutch Award (1981).
Bench popularized the hinged catcher's mitt, first introduced by Randy Hundley of the Chicago Cubs. He began using the mitt after a stint on the disabled list in 1966 for a thumb injury on his throwing hand. The mitt allowed Bench to tuck his throwing arm safely to the side when receiving the pitch. By the turn of the decade, the hinged mitt became standard catchers' equipment. Having huge hands (a famous photograph features him holding seven baseballs in his right hand), Bench also tended to block breaking balls in the dirt by scooping them with one hand instead of the more common and fundamentally proper way: dropping to both knees and blocking the ball using the chest protector to keep the ball in front.
Bench has been married four times. Once hailed as "baseball's most-eligible bachelor," he shed that distinction before the 1975 season when he married Vickie Chesser, a toothpaste model who'd previously dated Joe Namath. Four days after they met, Bench proposed, and they were married on February 21, 1975. Quickly, the pair realized they were incompatible, especially after Johnny suggested Vickie accept Hustler magazine's offer for her to pose nude for $25,000. They broke up at the end of the season (Bench reportedly said to her, "Now I'm done with two things I hate: baseball and you"), divorcing after just 13 months. "I tried. I even hand-squeezed orange juice," she told Phil Donahue in December 1975. "I don't think either of us had any idea what marriage was really like." After returning to Manhattan, Vickie said, "Johnny Bench is a great athlete, a mediocre everything else, and a true tragedy as a person.
Before Christmas 1987, Bench married Laura Cwikowski, an Oklahoma City model and aerobics instructor. They had a son, Bobby Binger Bench (named for Bob Hope and Bobby Knight, and Bench's hometown), before divorcing in 1995. They shared custody of the boy. "He was, and is, a great dad," says Bobby, who works in Cincinnati as a production operator on Reds broadcasts. Bench's third marriage, to Elizabeth Benton, took place in 1997, while his fourth came in 2004, to 31-year-old Lauren Baiocchi, the daughter of pro golfer Hugh Baiocchi. After living in Palm Springs with their two sons, Justin (born 2006) and Josh (born 2010), Johnny had the urge to return to South Florida, where he lived from 2014-17, so the family scouted homes in Palm Beach Gardens. In the end, Lauren decided she wasn't going to move to Florida, so she and Johnny divorced; as of 2018, Bench has primary custody of the boys.
Bench was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1989 alongside Carl Yastrzemski. He was elected in his first year of eligibility, and appeared on 96% of the ballots, the third-highest percentage at that time. Three years earlier, Bench had been inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1986 and his uniform #5 was retired by the team. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. In 1989, he became the first individual baseball player to appear on a Wheaties box, a cereal he ate as a child.
In 1985, Bench starred as Joe Boyd/Joe Hardy in a Cincinnati stage production of the musical Damn Yankees, which also included Gwen Verdon and Gary Sandy. He also hosted the television series The Baseball Bunch from 1982 to 1985. A cast of boys and girls from the Tucson, Arizona, area would learn the game of baseball from Bench and other current and retired greats. The Chicken provided comic relief and former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda appeared as "The Dugout Wizard."
In 1986, Bench and Don Drysdale did the backup contests or ABC's Sunday afternoon baseball telecasts (Al Michaels and Jim Palmer were the primary commentating crew). Keith Jackson, usually working with Tim McCarver did the #2 Monday night games. Bench took a week off in June (with Steve Busby filling in), and also worked one game with Michaels as the networks switched the announcer pairings. While Drysdale worked the All-Star Game in Houston as an interviewer he did not resurface until the playoffs. Bench simply disappeared, ultimately going to CBS Radio to help Brent Musburger call that year's National League Championship Series. Bench would later serve as color commentator CBS Radio's World Series coverage alongside Jack Buck and later Vin Scully from 1989-1993. In 1994, Bench served as a field reporter for NBC/The Baseball Network's coverage of the All-Star Game from Pittsburgh.
After turning 50, Bench was a part-time professional golfer and played in several events on the Senior PGA Tour. He has a home at the Mission Hills-Gary Player Course in Rancho Mirage, California.
In 1999, Bench ranked Number 16 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players. He was the highest-ranking catcher. Bench was also elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team as the top vote-receiving catcher. As part of the Golden Anniversary of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, Bench was selected to the All-Time Rawlings Gold Glove Team.
Starting with the 2000 college baseball season, the best collegiate catcher annually receives the Johnny Bench Award. Notable winners include Buster Posey of Florida State University, Kelly Shoppach of Baylor University, Ryan Garko of Stanford University, and Kurt Suzuki of Cal State Fullerton.
In 2008, Bench co-wrote the book Catch Every Ball: How to Handle Life's Pitches with Paul Daugherty, published by Orange Frazer Press. An autobiography published in 1979 called Catch You Later was co-authored with William Brashler. Bench has also broadcast games on television and radio, and is an avid golfer, having played in several Champions Tour tournaments.
In a September 2008 interview with Heidi Watney of the New England Sports Network, Johnny Bench, who was watching a Cleveland Indians/Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, did an impression of late Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray after Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, a native of Cincinnati, made a tough play. While knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was on the mound for the Red Sox, he related a story that then-Reds manager Sparky Anderson told him that he was thinking of trading for knuckleballer Phil Niekro. Bench replied that Anderson had better trade for Niekro's catcher, too.
On September 17, 2011, the Cincinnati Reds unveiled a statue of Bench at the entrance way of the Reds Hall of Fame at Great American Ball Park. The larger-than-life bronze statue by Tom Tsuchiya, shows Bench in the act of throwing out a base runner. Bench called the unveiling of his statue his "greatest moment."
I did have one offer: Hustler magazine offered me $25,000 to pose in Hustler style. I rejected the idea but Johnny said, 'Why not, it's good money.'
The 1967 Cincinnati Reds season consisted of the Reds finishing in fourth place in the National League with a record of 87–75, 14½ games behind the NL and World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds were managed by Dave Bristol and played their home games at Crosley Field.1970 World Series
The 1970 World Series matched the American League champion Baltimore Orioles (108–54 in the regular season) against the National League champion Cincinnati Reds (102–60), with the Orioles winning in five games.
In this series Emmett Ashford became the first African American to umpire in the Fall Classic. It also featured the first World Series games to be played on artificial turf, as Games 1 and 2 took place at Cincinnati's first-year Riverfront Stadium.
This was the last World Series in which all games were played in the afternoon. Also this was the third time in a World Series where a team leading 3–0 in the series would fail to complete the sweep by losing game 4 but still win game 5 to win the series. 1910 and 1937 were the others. This was the last World Series until 2017 in which both participating teams won over 100 games during the regular season.1974 Cincinnati Reds season
The 1974 Cincinnati Reds season saw the Reds finishing in second place in the National League West with a record of 98–64, four games behind the NL West and pennant-winning Los Angeles Dodgers. The Reds were managed by Sparky Anderson and played their home games at Riverfront Stadium.
The Reds' second-place finish was really more about the Los Angeles Dodgers improvements more than any perceived failures by
Cincinnati. The Reds' 98 victories were second-best in all of Major League baseball to the Dodgers' 102 victories. The Dodgers had finished in second place from 1970–73, three of those years the Reds won the NL West. In the offseason, the Dodgers added center fielder Jimmy Wynn in a trade from Houston and acquired future Cy Young Award winning reliever Mike Marshall from Montreal. The Reds added a solid starter in 12-game winner Clay Kirby in the offseason. With All-Star shortstop Dave Concepcion fully recovered from a broken ankle he suffered at mid-season in '73, and All-Star catcher Johnny Bench having big season, the Reds were not going to relinquish their divisional crown easily.
Just as they had done the previous season, the Dodgers started hot and gained a large lead on the Reds in the National League West Division, due largely to their success against the Reds heads-up. The Dodgers won nine of their first 10 games against the Reds. After losing 6–3 to the Dodgers on August 5, the Reds trailed the Dodgers by 7½ games despite a solid 66–45 record. By Aug. 15, the Reds had cut the lead to 1½ games after winning the first two of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium marking 9 losses in 11 games for Los Angeles. In the third game, Wynn hit a seventh-inning grand-slam to break open a tight game as the Dodgers rallied to a 7–1 victory, which helped keep the Dodgers ahead in the NL West. The Reds would get no closer than two games the rest of the season.
Johnny Bench put up one of his best seasons (career-highs in 108 runs scored and 160 games played, 33 home runs, 129 RBI and 315 total bases) to finish fourth in the NL MVP voting to winner Steve Garvey, runnerup Lou Brock, and Marshall. Wynn was fifth.
The 1974 season also marked the first with future Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman. Brennaman replaced another nationally-known broadcaster, Al Michaels, who moved to San Francisco to take the same position with the Giants.1976 Cincinnati Reds season
The 1976 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The Reds entered the season as the reigning world champs. The Reds dominated the league all season, and won their second consecutive National League West title with a record of 102–60, best record in MLB and finished 10 games ahead of the runner-up Los Angeles Dodgers. They went on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1976 National League Championship Series in three straight games, and then win their second consecutive World Series title in four straight games over the New York Yankees. They were the third and most recent National League team to achieve this distinction, and the first since the 1921–22 New York Giants. The Reds drew 2,629,708 fans to their home games at Riverfront Stadium, an all-time franchise attendance record. As mentioned above, the Reds swept through the entire postseason with their sweeps of the Phillies and Yankees, achieving a record of 7-0. As of 2018, the Reds are the only team in baseball history to sweep through an entire postseason since the addition of divisions.1976 National League Championship Series
The 1976 National League Championship Series faced off the Cincinnati Reds (known for their nickname at the time, The Big Red Machine) and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Reds swept the best-of-five series in three games, winning easily in the first two games, and in their last at bat in Game 3.
Stars of the series for the Reds included batters Johnny Bench (4 for 12, HR), Dave Concepción (4 runs scored), George Foster (2 H, both home runs), Ken Griffey (5 for 13, triple), Pete Rose (6 for 14, 2 RBIs, 3 runs scored), and pitchers Don Gullett (win, 8 IP, 2 hits), Pedro Borbón (4 1⁄3 IP, 0.00 ERA), and Pat Zachry (win, 5 IP, 3 SO).1976 World Series
The 1976 World Series matched the defending champions Cincinnati Reds of the National League against the New York Yankees of the American League, with the Reds sweeping the Series to repeat, avenging their 1939 and 1961 World Series losses to the Yankees in the process. The 1976 Reds became—and remain – the only team to sweep an entire multi-tier postseason, one of the crowning achievements of the franchise's Big Red Machine era. The Reds are also the last National League team to win back-to-back World Series. It also marked the second time that the Yankees were swept in a World Series—the Los Angeles Dodgers were the first to sweep them in 1963.
The Cincinnati Reds won the National League West division by 10 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers then defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, three games to none, in the National League Championship Series after losing seven of 12 games to the Phillies during the regular season. The New York Yankees won the American League East division by 10 1⁄2 games over the Baltimore Orioles then defeated the Kansas City Royals, three games to two, in an exciting American League Championship Series.
This World Series was the first in which the designated hitter rule, which had been introduced in the American League three years prior, was in effect; it was used for all games (for the first 10 years, the use of the DH alternated; in even-numbered years, it was used in all games, in odd-numbered years, it was not used; starting in 1986, the DH would be used in games played at the American League representative's park). The use of the DH wound up benefiting the Reds, who were able to get utility infielder Dan Driessen's bat in the lineup. Driessen hit .357 with one home run. Elliott Maddox, Carlos May, and Lou Piniella shared the role for the New York Yankees. Game 1, played at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, marked the first time the DH was used in a National League ballpark. Game 2, also at Riverfront Stadium, was the first World Series weekend game to be scheduled at night.1979 National League Championship Series
The 1979 National League Championship Series was played between the National League West champion Cincinnati Reds and the National League East champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
It was the fourth time in the 1970s that the Pirates and Reds had faced off for the pennant; Cincinnati had won all three previous meetings in 1970, 1972 and 1975.
The Pirates won the series in a three-game sweep in what would be the last postseason appearance for both franchises until 1990.1989 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1989 followed the system in place since 1978.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and
elected two, Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.
It also selected two people, Al Barlick and Red Schoendienst.Brad Cresse
Bradley Garrett Cresse (born July 31, 1978) is an American former professional baseball catcher. He attended Los Alamitos High School and Marina High School, where he was recognized as one of the better high school baseball players in Orange County. He then attended Louisiana State University (LSU), where he played college baseball for the LSU Tigers. As a senior, Cresse won the Johnny Bench Award, given to the top collegiate catcher.
Cresse was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and played in minor league baseball from 2000 through 2006, when he retired. He did not reach Major League Baseball.Buster Posey Award
The Buster Posey Award was created in 2000 to honor college baseball's top catcher in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The award is administered by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission and presented after the conclusion of the College World Series. From 2000 to 2018 it was named the Johnny Bench Award. In 2012, BaseballSavings.com became the official sponsor of the award.
Schools nominate their catchers during the season to create the official watch list. A select committee of 20 individuals narrows the watch list down to the semifinalists. Two rounds of voting by Division I head coaches determine the three finalists and eventual recipient of the Buster Posey Award. The current holder of the award is Joey Bart.In 2019 the award was renamed the Buster Posey Award.Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is an entity established by Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds franchise that pays homage to the team's past through displays, photographs and multimedia. It was instituted in 1958 to recognize the career of former Cincinnati Reds players, managers and front-office executives. It is adjacent to Great American Ball Park on the banks of the Ohio River. Currently, the Hall of Fame section is home to 81 inductees. These inductees include players, managers & executives who were involved in Cincinnati's baseball legacy, which dates back to 1869, the year the original Cincinnati Red Stockings took the field. Inductions take place every other year.Cincinnati Reds award winners and league leaders
This article is a list of baseball players who are Cincinnati Reds players that are winners of Major League Baseball awards and recognitions, Reds awards and recognitions, and/or are league leaders in various statistical areas.Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets baseball
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets baseball team represents the Georgia Institute of Technology in NCAA Division I college baseball. Along with most other Georgia Tech athletic teams, the baseball team participates in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Yellow Jackets play their home games in Russ Chandler Stadium and they are currently coached by Danny Hall.Jeff Clement
Jeffrey Burton Clement (born August 21, 1983) is an American former professional baseball player. Clement was a catcher and first baseman. He played in Major League Baseball for the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Clement attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he played college baseball for the USC Trojans and won the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher. The Mariners selected Clement in the first round (third overall) in the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft. He struggled with injuries, which have limited his playing career.List of Cincinnati Reds team records
This is a list of team records for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. (The Reds do not recognize records set before 1900.)List of Major League Baseball All-Star Game broadcasters
The following is a list of the American radio and television networks and announcers that have broadcast the Major League Baseball All-Star Game over the years.Major League Baseball on CBS Radio
Major League Baseball on CBS Radio was the de facto title for the CBS Radio Network's coverage of Major League Baseball. Produced by CBS Radio Sports, the program was the official national radio broadcaster for the All-Star Game and the postseason (including the World Series) from 1976 to 1997.Rawlings Gold Glove Award
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as simply the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. It is also awarded to women fastpitch softball players in the National Pro Fastpitch as of 2016. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Additionally, a sabermetric component provided by Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) accounts for approximately 25 percent of the vote. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year (with the exception of 1957, 1985, 2007, and 2018), one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in Major League Baseball; however, separate awards were given for the National and American Leagues beginning in 1958.The Baseball Bunch
The Baseball Bunch is an American educational children's television series that originally aired in broadcast syndication from August 23, 1980 through the fall of 1985. Produced by Major League Baseball Productions, the series was a 30-minute baseball-themed program airing on Saturday mornings, which featured a combination of comedy sketches and Major League guest-stars, intended to provide instructional tips to Little League aged children. Throughout its five season run, the series starred Johnny Bench, Tommy Lasorda and The Famous San Diego Chicken alongside a group of eight children (boys and girls ranging in age from 8–14) as "The Bunch".